Sailing into anchorage at dinner time––chopping onions with a breeze coming in the galley porthole–– is probably the most heavenly time in any galley chef’s day. Such was our sail into the West River while I prepared all the ingredients for tonight’s meal, Seared Tenderloins with Burgundy Mushroom Sauce. Passing by Sid and Sal’s Famous Channel Marker Diner, I see that Sid is contemplating their evening meal as well. I’ll bet FISH is on their menu tonight.
Burgundy Mushroom Sauce
2 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
6 shallots, minced
2 large clove of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups of red wine
2 tablespoons of beef bouillon from a jar (or 4 cubes)
2 teaspoons of thyme
Fresh ground black pepper
Chop the mushrooms, minced the shallots and press the garlic. In a large sauce pan, heat up the olive oil and butter. Mushrooms soak up a lot of oil, that’s why the generous amount of oil and butter. They also shouldn’t be crowded. The amount of moisture they put out will make them “steam” rather than fry. Sauté the 3 ingredients in the oil-butter mixture, stirring, until mushrooms turn dark brown. This will take over 10 minutes. The long heating time allows the rich flavor of the mushrooms to come through.
Hmm. Empty nest. Looks like Sid needs to make a run to the grocery store.
Once your mushroom and shallot mixture is thoroughly cooked through, add the wine, bouillon, thyme and pepper. Continue to cook until reduced a bit, about 10 more minutes. Adjust seasonings. Too salty? Add wine or water. Not salty enough? Add some more bouillon or salt. (I also add a pinch or two of sugar into almost everything I cook to soften the salt and give a little richness)
Once reduced down to your desired thickness and flavor remove from the burner and set aside.
I think we all agree that the best way to cook tenderloins is on the grill. But sometimes that just isn’t convenient. Well seasoned tenderloins, seared on a hot, flat griddle are almost as good and very, very quick. Prepare your tenderloins. If you wash them first, be sure they are patted dry. Sprinkle with course ground sea salt, course ground black pepper and any other seasoning that you like for beef. Dinner is almost ready…
And looks like Sid’s dinner is almost ready as well!
Heat your griddle or sauce pan until it is very hot. Add the slightest bit of oil. Canola oil works best for high heat cooking. If you can find spray canola oil, all the better, because you want these filets to sear as dry as possible. That’s what forms the nice crust and seals in the red meat and juicy flavor.
Sear for 3 minutes on each side for rare to medium rare. Adjust to you and your guests’ preferences. I wish I could share a final photo of these wonderful filets presented at serving time, but Galley Pirates’ guests get really restless seeing their food photographed when they’re hungry.
And my guess is Sid’s fish didn’t make it to a serving platter either.